Photo: Cows and small waves.


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Located off the coast of Quang Ngai province, small Ly Son Island (also known as Cu Lao Re) is a growing holiday spot for Vietnamese tourists yet somehow it has eluded the foreign travellers radar. A ferry from the mainland takes about an hour and Ly Son can be an interesting little getaway for fresh cheap seafood, photo ops and cultural insight.

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Keep reading to learn more about Ly Son Island!

Standing atop of Ly Son’s highest peak gives visitors a literal and figurative snapshot of why it’s known as garlic island: every inch of useable land grows garlic, shallots and onions, a neat patchwork of greens and beige blanketing the ground, engulfing houses, tombs and any other obstacle. Renowned for its quality and mild taste, Ly Son garlic is grown in tidy rows with a layer of sand on top of the volcanic soil.

Not in short supply on Ly Son Island. Photo taken in or around Ly Son Island, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Not in short supply on Ly Son Island. Photo: Cindy Fan

We were told this prevents the soil from getting too hot in the daytime and at night, cools it down quickly. Traditionally it’s planted in September and harvested February and March, though irrigation now allows for year round activity. As you ride around you’ll smell the garlicky aroma wafting from the fields. This island is great for foodies, not so much for vampires.

Aside from garlic, the island’s other industry is fishing and tourism, the trifecta coming together at restaurants serving cheap seafood with plenty of sweet garlic and onions. A seafood dinner is delicious fuel for your exploration of the sights. Aside from the magnificent panoramic view from Mount Thoi Loi, there’s a small natural stone archway, many pagodas including one inside a cliff facing the ocean and quaint daily scenes of fishing boats and women planting and harvesting heaps and heaps of garlic.

No chance of forgetting where you are. Photo taken in or around Ly Son Island, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

No chance of forgetting where you are. Photo: Cindy Fan

Unfortunately swimming isn’t that great on the island. Most of the beaches are rocky and lack atmosphere for wanting to linger (ignore any marketing ploy describing Ly Son as the “Maldives of Vietnam”, that is beyond absurd). Hang Cau cave, on the northeast shore at the foot of Mount Thoi Loi is an okay spot, but most visitors should reserve beach time for An Binh island, a relatively easy day trip recommended if you’re already ... Travelfish members only (Around 700 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ly Son Island.
 Read up on where to eat on Ly Son Island.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ly Son Island.
 Read up on how to get to Ly Son Island, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ly Son Island? Please read this.
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